Networking is interacting with others in your profession, industry, or individuals with whom you share business interests. It can be done in person or virtually. There are events whose sole purpose is providing networking opportunities, or networking can be a routine part of your job. You can network formally with fellow professionals or informally with friends and family members who can help your career. Networking opportunities are abundant if you’re willing to seek them out.
- Most networkers will reciprocate if you provide them assistance. Individuals involved in networking realize that the Golden Rule applies and are willing to return favors when your requests might go unanswered under other circumstances.
- Just as practicing your public speaking helps you be a more effective presenter, consistent networking enables you to sharpen your ability to present information concisely, overcome awkwardness with strangers, listen actively, and evaluate others swiftly. It builds those vital interpersonal skills that benefit your career.
- Networking exposes you to best practices, fresh perspectives, and innovations that may benefit your current or future jobs.
- Networking can allow you to “bounce ideas” before presenting them in your own company. They may have tried the very concept you’re considering and be able to provide valuable feedback to help you avoid pitfalls and false starts.
- Networking can provide knowledge and a broader point of view that will give you the edge over others when an opportunity for promotion becomes available.
- Networking can reveal career opportunities outside of your current company or industry. Jobs you didn’t know existed but are great matches for your skills and aptitudes may be sitting there waiting for you. All it takes is meeting the right person at the right time.
- Networking can expand your social circle. Of course, having more friends with similar interests is never a bad thing, and social and professional groups often become intertwined, leadings.
There are additional networking benefits for professionals who own a business (or occupy a C-Suite position).
- Networking connects you with talented people who will be valuable additions to your workforce. It’s an excellent chance to meet individuals with experience and skills to help your company launch a new product, ignite a stymied sales force, or stimulate needed cultural change.
- Networking improves your visibility in the business community. You can find resources that help you do your job better. Becoming a resource for someone else may pay benefits down the road. Being “known” can prove advantageous if you get involved in fundraising, running for office, recruiting for an association, championing a cause, etc.
- Finally, networking can develop contacts who become customers. The broader you spread your net, the greater the probability you will discover people who are interested in your product or service or know someone who is.
Like most other aspects of life, you get out of it what you put into it. So, look for opportunities to mix with others who are similarly motivated to expand their horizons. Follow up on leads, be reliable in responding to others, and be willing to put yourself out there consistently. Although the rewards may not be immediate, eventually, you will build a broad professional network.